Tripura Sundari Temple
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|Tripura Sundari Temple|
|Style||Bengali (Ek-ratna style)|
|Founder||Maharaja Dhanya Manikya|
|Date established||1501 AD|
Tripura Sundari Temple is a Hindu temple of Goddess Tripura Sundari, better known locally as Devi Tripureshwari. The temple is situated in the ancient city of Udaipur, about 55 km from Agartala, Tripura and can be reached by train and road from Agartala. It is believed to be one of the holiest Hindu shrines in this part of the country. Popularly known as Matabari, the shrine is set upon a small hillock, since the shape of a hillock resembles the hump of a tortoise (Kurma) and this shape called Kurmapṛṣṭhākṛti is considered the holiest possible site for a Shakti temple, hence also bestowing the name of Kurma Pīṭha. The Goddess is served by traditional Brahmin priests.
The temple is considered to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas; legend says that the right leg of Sati fell here. Here, Shakti is worshipped as Tripurasundarī and the accompanying Bhairava is Tripuresh. The main shrine, a cubical edifice with a three-tier roof with a finial, erected by Maharaja of Tripura Dhanya Manikya in 1501 AD, is constructed in the Bengali Ek-ratna style.
There are two similar but different sized black stone idols of the Goddess in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The larger and more prominent idol of 5 feet height is of Goddess Tripura Sundari and the smaller one, adorably called Chhoto-Ma (literally, Little Mother), is 2 feet tall and is an idol of Goddess Chandi. Folklore says that the smaller idol was carried by the kings of Tripura to the battlefield.
Every year on the occasion of Diwali, a famous Mela takes place near the temple which is visited by more than 0.2 million pilgrims.
Legend has it that King Dhanya Manikya, who ruled over Tripura in the closing years of the 15th century, had a revelation one night in a dream in which Goddess Tripura Sundari instructed him to initiate her worship on the hilltop near the town of Udaipur, the contemporary capital of the kingdom. The king found out that a temple on the hillock was already dedicated to Lord Vishnu. He was in a dilemma, unable to decide how a temple dedicated to Vishnu could have an idol of Shakti. The following night, the divine vision was repeated. The king understood that Vishnu and Shakti were different forms of the same Supreme Deity (Brahman). Thus, the temple of Tripura Sundari came into being around the year 1501 AD. In the dawn of this century, the temple has crossed 500 years. This legend is recounted as an example of solidarity between two sub-groups of Hinduism: the Vaishnava and the Shakta sects.
Attraction of tourist
In Udaipur, the Goddess is worshipped as Tripura Sundari. Local variants of the name of the goddess are Tripureśwarī or Ṣoḍaśī. The temple is a small cubical edifice, measuring 24 square feet at the base with a height of 75 feet. The shrine is situated on a small hillock which resembles in shape the hump of a tortoise, which gives it the name of Kurma Pīṭha. As in other typical Hindu temples, stalls along the road to the temple sell flowers and baskets of offerings that visitors can buy and offer to the goddess as Prasādam. The common Prasādam offered here is the Peda. The red hibiscus flower (রক্তজবা) is also prized as an offering to the goddess.
There is another Tripura Sundari temple in Chhatrabhog on the bank of Hooghly (also called Ādigangā) in Gangasagar region of the South 24 Paraganas in West Bengal near the Sundarbans where, according to local mythology, King Kalinda, the 27th descendant (34th from Chandra) of Druhyu of the Chandravansha set up first Tripura Sundari idol (according to popular belief, made of wood). In an early Tantrik book Kubjikā Tantram composed in 8-9th century, there is the mention of a Shakti Peetha in Gangasagar, which most probably refers to Chhatrabhog. From a source of foreign traders, collected by Rev. James Long published in the journal of Asiatic Society (Vol-XIX) in 1850, it is found that there were about five port towns in the aforesaid region, one of which was named Tiparia. So that Tiparia city or town was the fatherland of old Tripura Dynasty.Here they set up a Shiv Temple named Ambulinga that is actually Bhairab of Goddess Tripura Sundari That temple of old Tribeg kingdom is still now there. Original line quoted from Sanskrit Raj Ratnakar:
Tribegat purbo deshe samondiram sumonohorng I
Nirmayo Sthapoyomas Tripurasundari porang II
Choturbhujaong darumoyeeing jothokto bidhi purbokong I
Adyopi bortote Rajano sa murti suprothishtit II
(Quoted from Rajn Ratnakar, Daksmin Vibhag 1 st Editiotion 6-7 rhymes)
The inhabitant of Chhatrabhog regards a wooden icon along with a small stone( Adi Shila) which is actually breast part(Chhatra) as ancient form of Tripura Sundari Devi. Her name repeatedly referred (as Tripura or Tripuri) in many literature (i.e Kavikankan Chandi) of mediavel age.One of the Muslim handwritten manuscript "Gorai gajir Keccha" that is composed in 14 th century( 1300-1350 A.D.)of Ketabuddin Mina mentioned Tripuri Math of this Chhatrabhog Region. That book is preserved in Asiatic Society Kolkata. Sanskrit Raj Ratnakar or ( 1 st Edition of this book published by King of Tripura) that book which is considered authentic in this regard say that having oracle/dream, King Dhanamanikya brought that stone idol(Chotima)from Chhattagram is actually Chhateswari not in the name Tripura Sundari.This incident proves that before 1501 A.D. there was only Peethas of (not included 51) in Udaipur, and Kalika puran is composed on later.
The Temple as a Shakti Peetha - Daksha Yajna and Sati's Self Immolation
The real incident of Daksha yaga and Sati's self immolation had immense significance in shaping the ancient Sanskrit literature and even had impact on the culture of India. It led to the development of the concept of Shakti Peethas and there by strengthening Shaktism. Enormous mythological stories in puranas took the Daksha yaga as the reason for its origin. It is an important incident in Shaivism resulting in the emergence of Shree Parvati in the place of Sati Devi and making Shiva a grihastashrami (house holder) leading to the origin of Ganapathy and Subrahmanya.
Shakti Peethas are shrines or divine places of the Mother Goddess. These are places that are believes to have enshrined with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Lord Shiva carried it and wandered throughout Aryavartha in sorrow. There are 51 Shakti Peeth linking to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. Each temple have shrines for Shakti and Kalabhairava and mostly the each temple associates different names to Shakti and Kalabhairava in that temple.Concept of 51 Shakti Peethas are not found in old Sanskrit literature(i.e Veda or Upanishad. Kalika puran is composed at near about 18th Century. In another previous Puran( i.e. Matsya Puran, Bayu Puran) or Sanskrit literature, there is no trace of 51 Shakti Peethas. So 51 Peethas are the new conception.
The offering of animal sacrifices is a very popular custom. Goats with garlands round their necks, as offerings. A notice board lists the charges for buffalo sacrifices. Goats are sacrifices daily except Doshomi & one buffalo is sacrifices at the night of Amavasya.
Kalyan Sagar lies in the eastern side of the temple. Spreading over 6.4 acres, with a length of 224 yards and width of 160 yards this large expanse of water adds a dimension of great beauty to the temple precincts, with hills rising picturesquely in the background. The water is full of Tortoises , some of them quite large, that come up to the shore looking for crumbs of food that visitors buy at the nearby stalls and feed to these reptiles, as part of the rituals.Devotees feed them with "muri"(puffed rice) and biscuits.Different types of fishes are also found in this sagar but fishing is not permitted here. A big lake Kalyan Sagar just down to the Hillock at the backside of the Temple adds to its beauty. This natural pond has varieties of aqua species. The area of the Kalyan Sagar Lake is 2.752 acre. The lake is considered sacred and devotees worship the fishes and tortoises present here. Kalyan Sagar is famous for very rare species of tortoise in large numbers. The Matabari Temple Committee is cementing the banks of Kalyan Sagar Lake for the last 2–3 years. The water of the lake became acidic due to destruction of the ecosystem around the lake. This has resulted in death of tortoise, as the cemented embankments spoiled the natural habitat as well as places for laying eggs for this turtles. As an amphibian it is extremely essential for the tortoise to have sandy exposure, which is not available in the lake after the construction of walls around the water body. Death of at least 7 tortoise have been reported in the last 6 months. Carrying of plastic poly bags are banned in and around Matarbari Temple area since 1998, even before the banning order issued by Tripura State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) for the entire State of Tripura on 21 January 2002. But visitors, tourists, pilgrims and devotees are throwing plastic carry bags every day into the lake. As a result, the bed of the lake is now full of polythene/plastics bags. To assess the situation and the state of the natural habitat of the tortoise, a team of TSPCB consisting of Scientist and Engineer visited the lake and interacted with the local people on 22 March 2003. To check the water quality of the lake, TSPCB collected water samples from four locations of the lake and analyzed the different parameters of the water quality. The results of the study show that the water quality of the lake is very good and even drinkable. According to the experts, it is only the construction of the embankments that increased the mortality of the turtles.
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- Sundarboner Shaktipith: Chhatrabhog , Devishankar Middya ,6th Chapter page-95 published by Nazibul Islam Mondal from Samakaler Jion Kathi Prakashon in 2017 ISBN 978-81-9319-13-9-2.
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- "Kottiyoor Devaswam Temple Administration Portal". kottiyoordevaswom.com/. Kottiyoor Devaswam. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- Details about the Temple
- Mata Bari Temple
- Tripura Sundari Temple
- shreetripurasundari Temple in Rajasthan
- "SATHGURU SRI SESHADRI SWAMIGAL BRINDAVANAM TRUST". seshadri.info. Retrieved 25 January 2014.